Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bienvenue au 20th siècle

A journey of a thousand miles must start with a single step:
Pharmacies in France will soon be allowed to stock many medicines in front of the counter in an effort to ensure competition keeps down prices....

French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot said in an interview in Le Parisien that by the second half of this year that pharmacies would be allowed to stock on shelves accessible to customers many medicines no longer reimbursed by the French state health insurance system.

....The change, which is quite radical for French pharmacies in which pharmacists dispense even non-prescription medicines, has been driven in part by price rises as contracts with the French health insurance agency no longer keep prices down on many treatments.

"When a product is sold in front of the counter you can compare prices more easily," said Bachelot.

.... Cough medicine, skin treatments and many gastroenterological medicationsare initially covered under the initiative, but as many as 3,000 drugs could eventually find their way in front of pharmacists' counters.

Though, they still have a ways to go:

In an interview on RMC radio on Tuesday Bachelot said she opposed allowing sale of medicines in supermarkets, saying it is "a question of public health and consumer protection."

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